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LETTER OF THE DAY - Insulting the teaching profession

Published:Wednesday | May 5, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Editor, Sir:

In a recent Gleaner editorial and in several letters to the editor, comments made about teachers and unions, performance-pay and educational reform, for me, are shameful. There is, to my way of thinking, far more backwardness and stupidity in them than enlightenment and inspiration.

The reality is that businessmen do what they do to make money. Theirs is the realm of Caesar and their efforts are in large part why Jamaica and the rest of the world are in the economic state they are today. Ministers do what they do to save souls from damnation and from the misery those souls often inflict upon themselves and others. Theirs is the realm of heaven, hell and the world as we have made it, and still their efforts have not stopped the growth of crime and corruption, particularly in Jamaica.

Helping he world

Teachers, on the other hand, must walk in both realms and at best serve as guides. They do not produce products, nor save souls, but only help the world around them become a better, a more productive and beneficially spiritual place, one where souls can flourish and develop as the Lord Creator intended them to do.

We can judge businessmen by the amount of money they make and ministers by the number of souls they save, but to think that we have the right and the wisdom to judge our teachers by some supposedly standard measure, other than their level of education and experience, is an arrogant, self-deceiving farce of a play upon our system of education. In reality, there are no such measures, nor can there ever be, nor should there ever be. Indeed, can we measure the love it takes to be a teacher?

Yet we pay teachers on the lowest of scales and then criticise them for not being as dedicated or as effective as we want them to be. We insult their effort and profession by rewarding almost all others far more and then wonder why they so readily move to nations, environments and schools that pay more for their services.

Finally, we have the utter gall even to demand that they be fired when they organize and strike against the poor working conditions, pay, and lack of respect we give them, particularly during the hard times that our own greed, materialism, emphasis on production and lack of spiritual leadership have created. Indeed, how quickly we will cut off our nose to save our face!

I am, etc.,

Ed McCoy